News Flash: Expansion of Interview Waiver Eligibility

Secretary of State Antony Blinken has temporarily expanded the ability of consular officers to waive the in-person interview requirement for individuals wishing to renew a nonimmigrant visa. The visa must be in the same classification and category. This is not the first instance of such an expansion.  
48 Months is the Magic Number
Originally, only applicants whose visa had expired within the last 12 months were eligible for the in-person interview waiver, according to the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) section 222(h) [8 USC 1202(h)] and Department of State (DOS) regulations at 22 CFR 41.102(b)(3)  Then, in mid-2020, the waiver was expanded to include individuals whose visa had expired within the last 24 months. This expansion was supposed to expire on March 31, 2021.   Now, this even broader waiver allows individuals whose visa expired within 48 months to file for a renewal. This expansion is set to be in place until December 31, 2021. Again, keep in mind, the renewal must be for the same visa classification and category 
The Reason for the Interview Waiver Expansion 
The purpose of the expanded waiver eligibility is to allow consular officers to continue processing certain nonimmigrant visa applications while limiting the number of applicants who must appear at a consular section, thereby reducing the risk of COVID-19 transmission to other applicants and consular staff.” For the full official announcement, refer to Travel.State.Gov 
Waiver Eligibility is NOT an Actual Waiver 
Keep in mind, this is merely giving the consular officer the ability to provide you with an in-person interview waiver. The decision is made at their discretion and does not guarantee that your in-person interview will be waived.  
Need More Help?  
If you have any further question, the knowledgeable immigration attorneys at Shihab Burke, LLC, Attorneys At Law will be more than happy to discuss any visa renewal concerns you may have. Contact us today!  

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